Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Free Advice Linky,FREEBIES and Requests

Stephanie over at Teaching in Room 6 came up with this fabulous linky called 

Is this a ferocious idea or what? I mean, I was a pretty stubborn first year teacher, so I don't know if I would have actually listened to any advice, but I can't express how important it is looking back. My story is simple, and so is my advice. I started teaching at the age of 35. It was a second career, babies had been born and my perspective on life had changed. I was so totally ready to take on the challenges of teaching. However, no one told me about:

If you teach primary, you will find little lost mystery nuggets in your room, in the hallway, and possibly in your hair. Just roll with it. It makes for great stories when you are older.

Oh, just do it. And do it well. Have a plan you can stick, but don't be afraid to venture from the beaten path when learning calls.

Let them chew it. Give a really thorough lesson on gum chewing, and then let have it. There are some brains that need a little 10 minute chomp to help them think.

Read, Watch, Learn
Never, never, ever stop learning. Teaching is like climbing Everest, except you will never reach the top. That doesn't mean you shouldn't take time to enjoy the process. Sharpen yourself, become the best teacher you can be, all the while realizing that you will never actually be the best you can be.

Ahhhhh, sage advice.

I think you're digging the owls. I know you are trying to be all cool and like, "Mushrooms? Owls? Gnomes? All that '70s stuff is gross". But I know you like it. Because you are cool, just like me.

I've had some requests for add-ons to the the OWL Classroom Kit. In addition to this kit, there are two free post sets; a CAFE set and a brand new D5 set. Head on over to my TPT store to grab your free printables! They'll look adorable next to your avocado coffee mug and orange office chair!

And if that ain't crazy enough for you, check out the pennants that I designed to go with the OWL Classroom Kit. Now you can be super coordinated and hip! 

Also, did you see all the hullabaloo about my fabulous, fantastical 100 followers? It's a PAR-TAY! Check out my previous post to catch the Flash Freebie!

Monday, July 30, 2012

100 Followers Flash Freebie!

100 Followers! As a thank you to all of YOU, the ones who inspire me, guide me and share with me, I am offering a free gift!

Can ya'll give it up for FLASH FREEBIE in da house?!

This is a Sub Plans Kit; imagine having a document all ready to type in your information when you need to leave your kiddos (and your teaching!) to another person. This will help you remember all those loose strings and tiny details. This is an editable Word document, ready and waiting for you to personalize it. Print it out and leave it in a binder, and the subs will be fighting over who gets your room. All because of your wonderfully organized and detailed plans. Did I mention they are FREE until August 1st??!!

Thank you, thank you....for being a part of my learning.

Made It Monday - 'Staches and Other Shenanagins

Can it possibly be another week rolling over? It must be time for....
I've been busy making things for my classroom, but haven't posted in a couple of weeks because none of them were truly finished and ready for unveiling. I have a few things to share today that are completely done.

I must first share that I realized the owl stuff I had created was just too much color in my new classroom. I still plan on using it as accent pieces but the overall theme has been changed to black and white. I love how calm, classy and put-together it looks. Bonus: it is cool without being overwhelming or distracting.
Ok, onto the projects.

First, I made those crazy cool crate chairs. Everyone is making them this summer! They are definitely all the rage right now. I got my crates at Walmart ($3.49 ea), foam and fabric at JoAnn's (2 yrds for $16.00, 3 yrds for $10.), and the boards we had lying around. Total cost: about $43.00. I think I could have done better if I had been smarter about coupons. Did you know that JoAnn's has a teacher's discount?

I also covered those little cups for my crayon caddies with scrapbooking paper so that they would be a tad more mature. I paid so much for the darn things, I just couldn't let them go. I am undecided about using the caddies that hold them, but if I do I'll spray them black or white. The paper colors correspond with the color of crayons/colored pencils/markers that go in them. The kids will have their own sets of coloring tools in their desks, but I like to have lots of extras and special colors available to them. Each color took one sheet of scrapbook paper ($1.00 for 2), and about half a spool of ribbon ($2.50 ea). Total cost: about $24.00 (with lots of left over ribbon!). I just used Aileen's Tacky Glue to adhere everything on.

I had these crappy bookshelves in my room, you know the particle board ones with the white laminate. They were so used and abused, not to mention they were second-hand-freebies. I am love, love, loving the black and white them I got going in my room, so I decided to decoupage the bookshelves to match. I absolutely LOVE how they turned out. Each one took about 16 sheets of scrapbook paper (2 for $1.00), plus few extra sheets. I sprayed them with Rustoleum clear varnish for a nice sheen and hard protection ($4.50 ea). Total cost: about $15.00. (I must mention that I already had the Mod Podge).

And finally...here is my favorite project of the week. Since I am using a black and white theme and I love mustaches, I designed a printing set to go with my theme. Included are backgrounds, frames, tags, months and alphabets, desk plates and pennants. You can find it here at my TPT store.

because what 4th grader doesn't love a good 'stache?

P.S.! For another thing I created check out this link for another project I created this week, but was waiting to launch for my 100 Followers Give Away! It's an awesome FLASH FREEBIE!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Fiction Friday

Phew! I just saw that Amanda over at The Teaching Thief had posted her Fiction Friday post. It reminded me to post my own today.

I love, love, loved the book I read this week. It was my favorite of the books I've read so far.

The Fourth Stall by Chris Rylander is a cheeky and entertaining story about a kid named Max who runs a business out of the fourth stall in a unused bathroom in a quiet wing of his school. He and his partners get kids what they need: special snacks, entrance to an R movie, test answers, and even protection.....for a small price. Reading about a school-aged Godfather absolutely delighted me? Before your hackles raise at the thought of encouraging your kiddos to read about a Tweener Mafia, let me assure you that the characters are not thugs. They are well-meaning kids who capitalize on a need.

Trouble for Max starts when Fred, an elementary student, comes to him for protection against a high-school aged bookie who has infiltrated the school. Max and his team must solve the mystery of who the bookie is and how to stop him from cheating out kids.

My rule this summer is first books of series only. That said, it was very hard to close the last page and not pick up the second book. I think my fourth's might feel the same way.

Next stop: The Giver.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Tell Me More!

I'm linking up with Amy over at Step into 2nd Grade with Mrs. Lemons. She started this fabulous linky party....is it a great idea or what? I love learning about people!

1. I can talk like Yoda. I save it for special occasions.

2. I have my very own room in my house. When we moved into our very old and very pink house, most of the rooms had been painted and the floors done. Not this little room in the corner of the house. It had ugly cat-pee carpet and gross paint. So I painted, tore out the carpet, refinished the floor all by my lonesome, and claimed it for MINE.
One might ask, "But Heather, have you done this before?" The answer is no, no matter how professional I look in the photo below. *snort*

3. I once owned 9 rats as pets. I mean, they were domesticated rats, not ones I got out of a sewer or something. Weird, I know, but I love the little guys!

4. I am obsessed with chickens. And I can't raise them due to our crummy city laws.

5. I am obsessed with Disney World. It is my happy place. I am also phobically afraid of scary rides, and this photo was taken after we ROCKED Mission to Mars at Epcot.

6. I like to change my hair color. Three years ago I showed up after the first week of school with platinum hair and FREAKED my first graders out. They didn't know who I was at first, poor little things.

7. I like big bass...and I cannot lie. I am a bass fishing FREAK. 

8. I don't like zombies especially, but after being totally addicted to Walking Dead I can't seem to get enough of them. Is that a paradox, or WHAT?

9. My dog Juno is little and white and scrappy. My nephew dog Max is everybody's best friend. Is it hard to see why? He and I have long talks in the evening about the problems of the world. My little white scrappy Juno is way to independent to need people like that.

10. I love a man who loves to nap. (see the above photo.

11. At one time, in the not-too-distant past, I was a Dungeon Master for a D&D game. Incoming! - Ultra Nerd!! What does this mean? I got to run a Dungeons and Dragons campaign, which meant I could beset my husband and his nerdy friends with monsters and reward them with treasure. Geeky control, pleasure and pain. It's like being Christian Grey, but only geekier and everyone is dressed.

13. I am a procrastinator. Even so, I made it through undergraduate school at the age of 35 (hey, I started at 31!) and my masters last spring. But really, why rush all your life when you can just rush the last 10 minutes?

14. An ex-boyfriend once hooked my in the ear with a large spinner bait while casting. I had to go to the ER because it was lodged so ferociously in the cartilage. It still had a large plastic worm attached to it. I was MORTIFIED sitting there with all the sick kids and people with broken legs and stuff. Who wouldn't stare at THAT person, the one with a large lure stuck to their head? (note: said boyfriend didn't stay one for long after that.)

15. I am a keeper of random facts. I don't try, I just remember them easily. I'm the partner you want when playing trivia games. I am a real life version of Kramer.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Itching to get Started!

I can't be the only one who is spinning their tires at the starting gate, ready for the shot that signals the race to get ready. I see you all out there, making Pinterest projects and doing book talks. We have a whole nine weeks off, and what do we do? We plan, we create, we learn.....we lay on the beach and think about our boards. We garden and fantasize about how we are going to work guided reading. We go camping and lament that we can't access Pinterest or blogs.

We. Are. Nuts.
and I love it.

I do not have photos yet for Made it Monday. I have been busy busy making things, but nothing is really to completion. Soon!

I have not finished another book yet for Fiction Friday, because I spent the week up at my sister's chillaxing..and by that I mean creating and planning for my classroom. I am halfway through The 4th Stall. L-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-v-e it. Check it out!

My sister did a Monday Made it for me. She made my hair!! Check out these shenanagins!

Holy Hair, Batman! And it's real....just not all mine. It pays to have a sister in the business.

I have now spent an appropriate time (35 minutes) relaxing, and now must go obsess in my classroom. Have a fab Monday, and don't work too hard! (hah!!)

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Fiction Friday

I read two great books this week for 

I finished 50 Shades (not a kid book) as my last grown-up read of the summer. I am onto juvie lit with a vengeance now. Only about 6 weeks until school starts! I need to get shined up on all those books I want to be able to recommend.

Gregor the Overlander is written by Suzanne Collins (why does she sound familiar? She wrote Hunger Games!). This is a series that grabs you and makes it nearly impossible to put down. You'll be finishing the last page and making plans to run out to your favorite book store right after you close the cover so you can pick up book 2.

Gregor is a city kid who lost his father 2 years, 7 months and 14 days ago. And by lost, he literally means lost. He dad simply disappeared. Gregor is now responsible for taking care of his younger sister and his grandmother during the summer while his mother works. One day while doing laundry, something extraordinary happens to him and his 2-yr-old sister Boots.

Transported to an underground kingdom, Gregor learns about bravery, leadership and responsibility to a greater cause.

I would recommend this book to: girls and boys, grades 3+

I have always wondered what the hullaballoo was about with Holes. It hit the shelves long after I was out of school. I had no interest in seeing the movie. I actually thought that maybe it was about giant worms or something science-fiction.

Boy, was I wrong!

Friendship, legends, buried treasure and gypsy curses... you wouldn't think these would be major items in a book about juvie prison camp. "If you take a bad boy and make him dig a hole everyday in the hot sun, it will turn him into a good boy." That's the motto for Camp Green Lake. It's not a camp, it's not green, and there is no lake; there is just the hot texas sun glaring down on a cursed dried up lake bed. Stanley Yelnats is a truly-innocent-wrongly-convicted kid who ends up at Camp Green Lake. At first, you think that you're going to pity Stanley, but his savviness proves him to be brave, intelligent, and filled with a sense of doing the right thing.

I finished Holes in less than 24 hours. I was delighted with the agony/bravery of the characters, and the core lesson of doing the right thing, no matter how difficult.

I would recommend this book to: boys and girls, grade 3+

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Inky Linky - Teacher Tatts

Mr. B over at Mr. B's Beach Brains has started a fab new linky - about teacher ink! I had to jump on, because you all know I just l-o-o-o-v-e my tattoo.

You may have noticed that I adore peacocks. Here's something you may not know if you haven't read through my blog since the beginning: it isn't the actual bird that I like, it's what they symbolize. Don't get me wrong, peacocks are really pretty and cool, but there is a more meaningful reason that I stick with them. If you don't know the whole story, you can check out the abbreviated version by clicking on the link to the side that says Perry the Peacock. Watch the video and think about your students. Then, watch it again and think about yourself as a teacher. Pretty profound, huh? I think so.

Perry is the anthem by which I live and teach.

Here is my tattoo.

This was taken right when it was finished, and the ink is black (not blue like it looks). It wraps around the back and up the inside of my ankle, and covers an old tatt in the process.

What's your tatt? Link up to Mr. B and let us see!

Monday, July 9, 2012

hot hot HOT

Phew! Are you sweating, too? Actually, I'm not sweating right now because I am still in my jammers drinking  coffee in my air-conditioned house. BUT....I will be sweating momentarily when I go outside to weed my garden (which, btw, is looking gor-geous!!).

I didn't post at all last week because we were camping in southern Missouri. Beautiful country, people. Have you ever been? I highly recommend it. The beach at Table Rock was very, very nice.

It was hot there (103, anyone?). But we were checking the weather while we were south and it sounds like it was very hot up here, too. In fact, it sounds like it was hot everywhere! The difference was that the heartland is in a major drought, whereas we are not up here in central WI/MN. There was very little humidity, and no 'squitos in Missouri. The best thing about it being so hot on vacay? You don't feel guilty about spending day after day at the beach, floating around in the water all the live-long day.

No Monday Made-Its for me today. I did knit some cutie coffee-cozies, but I am too lazy to take pictures and post today.

I am absolutely itching to get into my classroom. Is anyone else feeling this way? I love that I get to "start over" with a new room this year.